Elements of Style: Wear the shoe of the life you were meant to live

July 29, 2009

The shoe is too often an afterthought. Its role in the fashion arsenal is sadly overlooked. The power to either dazzle or repel, all located at the tips of one’s toes, is nothing to be taken lightly.

The siren song of the stiletto can be heeded by all, regardless of height or weight. It is the great equalizer. It always fits perfectly, and never shrinks in the dryer. It is comforting in its consistency, and never lets you down.

A favorite shoe is a lifeline that can be clung to on even the direst of wardrobe circumstances. Often thought of as the finishing piece, the proper shoe can become the focal point upon which an ensemble can be constructed.

The inspiration of such a shoe is embodied in a particularly stunning stiletto sandal I am currently besotted with. It is the epic sort of shoe upon which love affairs could be ignited or empires built. Supple crimson suede, crafted into a flourished swirl at the toe, peppered with glistening metallic studs—not since Dorothy’s ruby slipper has a shoe held so much power.

It evokes the sort of emotion every designer aspires to. The lilt it promises to add to each and every step can only be measured in sheer inspiration. The magnitude by which it pushes the very essence of being can only be communicated in such a state of grace.

Tragic resignation to the sensible shoe should be seriously reconsidered. Plodding through life, never daring to dazzle or delight, a practical square-toed flat is certain to bring you exactly what is expected—a long, well-worn groove of predictability that we were all taught to aspire to.

Cast aside the bounds of preconceived notions, and dare to give uncertainty a spin. Stop waiting for a grand event that probably will never happen to bust out the “good” shoes. Prance through the aisles of the grocery store flagrantly disregarding practicality and function.

Laugh at yourself as you trip over your own bravado a couple of times initially breaking it in. It will become second nature. You may even find yourself reconsidering standard purchases, as the sprouting chutzpah you have recently acquired finds its way into your grocery cart.

I can hear the collective sigh already. Ease into it. Dip a toe into the water with a wedge, before attempting a serious heel. If you must wear flats, try an unexpected color.

The objective is to surprise yourself. It is amazing what can be discovered within oneself based on the height of a heel. Suspend all judgment as you allow yourself the luxury of whimsy. It can be telling to discover that your wishes are often compromised out of habit.

Break the habit. Wear the hot shoe. Even better, wear it often, and unexpectedly. Toss it on with your favorite white tee and well-worn jeans.

Stop waiting for the appropriate circumstance to present itself. Create it. Wear the shoe of the life you were meant to live, and before you know it, you just might be.

Send style questions or ideas to Kristina Leftwich at contact@rockrivertimes.com. Include “ATTN: Elements of Style” in the subject line.

from the July 29-August 4, 2009, issue

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